Profile: Staffan Tollgard
With offices in the UK and Portugal, and a new showroom in central London, this Swedish designer and his team are on a roll
Staffan Tollgard’s latest project also happens to be one of his favourites. He was his own client, which was quite a treat, if a little odd at times. But who else would design his first ever flagship store/showroom in Chelsea?
The Design Store represents everything Tollgard has come to love about design, as he explains: ‘It is a window into the world of our residential design ethos and a curated collection of the best contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories that I have experienced over the ten or so years that I’ve been working in design.’
The 3500 sq ft space is just what you would expect from the Swedish designer and his studio, Staffan Tollgard Design Group, which has become synonymous with a particular brand of ‘pared-back luxury’. Tollgard first came to the UK to study film and went on to be a successful producer before switching to a career in architectural interior design, having caught the designing bug when he worked on the renovation of his own house in 2003. Two years later he set up his practice, Staffan Tollgard Design Group, and a second studio was launched in Portugal in 2010.
‘Busy’ just isn’t the word.
At the moment the team is working on a ‘colourful chalet’ in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, various refurbishments in London (including the conversion of a Knightsbridge apartment which is at the installation stage) and a new-build project in Berkshire. Then there’s the Design Store. Billed as a ‘truly immersive design experience’ it’s not your average design store and it’s not your run-of-the mill showroom either.
His London-based design team (14 people in all) are neatly ensconced inside the space up on a mezzanine level while the store element sits below where pretty much everything you see is for sale. Flos, Kasthall, Bocci, Driade, Roca and Autoban are just a sample of the top brands featured. ‘Furniture stores sell furniture’, says Tollgard. ‘They don’t have an interest in the wall finishes, floor, architectural lighting or have a sense of home.’ The main point is that the products are all to be viewed in context, in a series of room settings ‘that tell a strong and interesting story’. ‘Each piece contributes to the story, from the way it is lit, to the floor and then the rug that it stands on,’ he continues.
Visitors to the Store can expect to peruse an Eggersmann stone kitchen, a living room with drop-down cinema screen, two bathrooms, a dining room and bedroom complete with walk-in wardrobes. ‘This is where I would love to live,‘ says Tollgard of the new venture. ‘And as I work such long hours I very nearly do.’